The last two weeks were mostly focused around user testing for NMM and short design sprints in order to implement the results of the testing rounds.
We are now concentrating on getting the details of the interactive elements right by iterating on all dynamic visual feedback and cues that are key to the experience.
I recently started collaborating with Digital Thinking Network in order to help them develop their flagship product News Console further and to develop a coherent branding and visual language for their communication.
For the annual workshop weeks at my son’s school, themed as a recycle festival, I volunteered to supervise building big structures with vegetable and fruit crates and all kinds of other stuff in the schoolyard. All I needed to contribute was a lot of tape, ty-raps and some guidance in establishing patterns for building and connecting elements. During three afternoons the kids figured out how to build a rather tall tower, which was stable enough to withstand a hoard of kids during school breaks for a week and even a couple of nights of rain. For me working with kids is always an incredible rewarding experience because it is refreshing to see how fast they can reframe their imagination and alter their perspectives in order to solve a creative task with minimal instructions.
Last week I took some days off from work in Amsterdam to spend some time with my family in Germany during the official school holiday.
Took a ride on the Rock parcours in Germany and in the brand new S-class that has all kind of extras and a hideous massive display dashboard with rather tame graphics and controls. Quite a missed opportunity in my opinion but caters to their target group that must be 60+ at least.
Started to catch up on this happened Amsterdam videos and we are aiming to have everything online in two weeks.
Last Friday was also the opening of the 3D PRINT CANAL HOUSE by DUS.
During the weekend Laura and me visited the 4D sound system again for a mindblowing set of Biosphere and did a tour of three Amsterdam museums, more or less churches, Onze lieve heer op Zolder, Oude Kerk and Nieuwe Kerk.
Last week started with busy day including a general members meeting at the Coop and the final round of the Apps voor Ouders challenge. Pieter Hilhorst congratulated us with a cheque and a jury gave advise for future business opportunities with open data sources.
Tuesday I have spent a full day in design review meetings and requirement mapping for the NewsMemeMachine with Dagan and Arjan.
In the evening we had a This happened Amsterdam dinner with Paul Skinner and Lotte enjoying a pretty decent Korean BBQ and discussing the future of the local chapter. Paul is moving to New York and we are looking for somebody to take his place.
The Skinvision application hit the app store with an updated archive functionality and I am handing out upgrade codes to testers, let me know if you like to share your professional opinion about the application.— Jarl Schulp (@jarlschulp)February 21, 2014
The last four weeks left little time for me to reflect, this quick post sums up what was going on.
I really enjoyed organising This happened IXD14 together with Ianus and Pieter. It was an experimental edition with more seats for the audience and two speakers from Germany that were visiting for the conference. We had a splendid evening with a good balance of speakers and a really great atmosphere.
- Marie de Vos - STBY – talked about improving travelers’ experience of train platforms.
- Christian Eckert & Andreas Wegner - icon incar – talked about designing a next-generation automotive interface.
- Pieter Jan Pieters – OWOW – talked about The Social Project
- Luna Maurer – Studio Moniker – talked about the ever-growing animation film Your Line or Mine
Following the conference program on Saturday I can conclude that my tolerance for the average academic or “professional” keynote delivery is really low since I started organising This happened. The format of 10 minutes presentation and 10 m in Q&A is a lot more entertaining in my opinion. Then again the conversation with Scott McLoud stood out for me and was really enjoyable.
Visiting the Stedelijk I tried out Moniker’s “Your line or mine” and watched people using the installation for a while and it is incredible to see how much engagement they generate with this setup.
- More stakeholder meetings in Hilversum, this time with the Tegenlicht editors at the VPRO
- Design and user stories
- Benchmarking and testing
- Research 2nd screen applications
- Finalised scenario prototypes for in depth interviews with health practitioners.
- Testing and deploying the iPhone app with a complete archive re-design.
- Analysation of mixpanel key metrics.
IXD 14 is approaching fast and we have almost completed the line up for our This happened partner edition. The first two speakers have been added to the event listing and we are waiting for conformation of our two other special guests. We have made the organisation a little bit more difficult because we are trying to get designers that are visiting for the conference next to local speakers.
Roughly this is going on with the other projects:
Full day of technical stakeholder meetings, requirement mapping and validation of our project objectives with the NPO and the complete team in Hilversum.
Planning and prioritising design and implementation sprints and roughing out sketches for scenario prototypes.
Planning our next general members meeting, sorting out the new alarm installation and setting the agenda for 2014 and 2015.
We are two weeks into the new year already and it has been a while since I posted an update about my activities and projects. First of all I want to look back at two public non-related events that really inspired me.
Last weekend legendary Berlin based techno producer Lucy finished the first artist in residency working with the 4DSOUND system. He concocted an amazing performance that explored the concept of echoing the bodily noises from a yoga practitioner. With this system an array of speaker columns and programmable controls allow a musician to play with sound spatiality and staging in unprecedented ways. During the Q&A Lucy really succeeded to explain his approach and creative process, if you are interested there is a Dutch review on VICE about the performance. Amsterdam really has become a tat more exciting since there will be more residencies with Biosphere, Pantha Du Prince and Vladislav Delay in the forthcoming months.
Just before the end of 2013 I have visited the 30C3 between Christmas and New Years Eve in Hamburg which is a the annual congress of the Chaos Computer Club. It was great participating and hanging out with the Bits of Freedom crew while meeting old and new friends in Hamburg. The event focuses on hard and software security and for the first time had curated categories like Hardware & Making, Art & Beauty, Science & Engineering, Security & Safety, Politics, Ethics & Society. To give you an idea the Glenn Greenwald keynote about his work with Edward Snowden was often interrupted by massive applause.
A few lectures really stood out for me. Jacob Applebaum delivered two keynotes, one about his work on TOR and another talk "To Protect And Infect, Part 2" about the recent Spiegel publication of NSA documents. Both are worth watching but the latter is simply mind-blowing and inspired me to finally start encrypting my emails and hardware.
No Neutral Ground in a Burning World by Quinn Norton and Eleanor Saitta was interesting and to relevant in essence but it was a great pity that the delivery failed and the talk did not grasp the audience. Alper gave a similar lecture for Hackdeoverheid and in my opinion gets the point across more intensely. You can find all the other keynotes here.
After a splendid start into 2014 the last two weeks have been divided between negotiations, planning new work but also reflecting on past projects, initiatives and my responsibilities as chairman of the Open Coop.
The Open Coop is in great shape but there are still challenges when it comes to democratic decision making and internal communication. The diversity of people has increased quite a bit over the past year and we have some amazing new members that all seem to feel right at home in our special work environment. In order to increase collaboration we have started to organise internal Pecha Kucha style presentation which help us to get to know each other even better. The next edition is planned for the 21st of February, PM me if you are curious and want to join us.
I will continue to work as a design consultant for Skinvision on a part time basis and will stay involved in setting their product and design strategy. During the next three months we will focus on improving their web service and the mobile apps but also on R&D for new services and collaboration with international not-for-profit medical research groups.
The NewsMemeMachine project is slowly landing inside the NPO and we are planning to launch somewhere in march. Last week we prepared the technology stakeholder meetings and worked on the first platform specific mockups and on the interaction design of the application. I am really glad that Arjan from Miracle Things joined our team as developer and that we have Laura as project manager.
For now I will continue teaching a course during the next semester at the HVA one day a week. It is save to say that even though the majority of the students lack talent it is great to work with the couple of motivated and hard working students while practicing my didactic skills.
Also This happened will be back in February during the IXD14 conference and we will announce the event soon.
The Self Building Building team was invited by Matthijs Bouw (One Architecture) to the New Institute where we got to present our project next famous archtiect Ben van Berkel to a panel of economists and entrepreneurs. We also gave a similar lecture at Stichting B.a.d. in Rotterdam.
I also started teaching an interaction design graduate course at the Technical University Amsterdam on day a week. My goal is to inspire a way of thinking that transcends the average students horizon when it comes to the design profession and self guided learning. Next to participation frameworks, social search and findability patterns I also briefly discussed Christopher Alexander’s "A pattern language" in class to stimulate more lateral thinking about design patterns. Christopher Alexander’s is available for free on a rather outdated and badly designed website.
Surprisingly Jyri is still the only hands on reference framework about Social Objects. Quite a dilemma, I am inclined to to push the envelope a bit with these students by introducing Ian Bogost’s Object Lessons, though a philosophical discourse around objects might be a bit to fluffy and abstract for my students.
I am wrapping up two weeks with a lot of meetings that are setting the strategy for the related projects, with all people in place there will hopefully be a lot more making than meeting during the last months of the year.
We decided to to team up with all dutch event organisers to plan an edition for the coming IXD 14. Really looking forward to this collaboration.
We have installed the new signage system designed by Tony with the lovely typface Amsterdam Energie by Jasper van den Berg.
Our new neighbours at the Open Coop, Fiber held a Coded Matters event with interesting talks and great performances. It was also a great opportunity to spend some time with Ben who visited Amsterdam for a short visit.
Self Building Building
Our team had a strategic meeting with the research director from the Waag Frank Krezin discussing how our project would fit into their agenda for the next two years.
We had branding and product development strategy meetings that are synthesised into requirements which we are using to validate the design iterations.
We had a great This Happened Amsterdam edition at the Brakke Grond. I really enjoyed the talk by Lieven about his Hydrogen Airship because of his intense delivery. Here is a nice write-up of the evening by Iskander.
Tuesday I spent a full day of validating the designs and finishing the detailed design of the interactive elements for the Skinvision Archive that will be launched after the next sprint.
Every autumn a quick visit to Cinekid is a must if you are a designer and living in Amsterdam. My favourite this year was Weather Worlds by Theo and Emily.
On Thursday I was invited by Michelle Kasprzak to join an expert meeting at the V2 lab in their innovation research series. Michelle and Boris Debackere moderated a discussion around creativity and innovation. The other participants were Brendan Cormier, Sacha van Tongeren, Malkit Shoshan, Diane Ragsdale and Kitty Leering.
This group interview will be published by V2 and I am interested to see how they boil down our inspired conversation. The mix of people greatly contributed to the debate which we informally continued at the spectacular dinner afterwards.
In the evening we visited the Stelarc lecture at the Nieuwe Institute. Stelarc is an eccentric artist who explores body modifications, suspensions and exoskeletons since the 80’s.
The talk was not for the faint at heart, this artist has no inhibitions to break ethical or medical conventions with his work. I was glad to hear that Stelarc is not a fan of the singularity movement, for him it is a rather simplistic model of the future that has nothing to do with his eccentric artistic practice. He is no futurist, he merely explores speculative possibilities and describes his work as an seductive act rather than preaching utopian or dystopian scenarios.
On Friday I took my time in Rotterdam to explore the Biodesign exhibition at the New Institute and visited the Food festival at the Musempark where DUS and Arne had their contributions to future food scenarios on display.
Both weeks were split between writing grant applications for the Self Building Building project and reviewing design iterations for the Skinvision application.
There is not much innovation happening when it comes to design software released by Adobe. One is way better off looking at indy developers for great tools. I recently started to use Sketch and already prefer the application over Adobe Fireworks, finally a tool that enables me to deliver great design assets for iOS development and to iterate design routes quickly.
In preparation of the 7th This happened edition I personally met with both of my speakers Jon Stam and Paul Veugen to brief them about the format of the evening and really enjoyed talking about their work methods and past projects. Both are really inspiring designers with extremely different attitudes towards their craft.
The photo above is made during the even more inspiring presentation of the Cardboard Challenge results of my son’s school, more photo’s on my flickr. The original idea is coming from Caine’s Arcade that most of you probably have seen already.